• From: Nimer Jaber <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 05 Aug 2009 21:29:34 -0600

-------- Original Message --------
Date: Mon, 3 Aug 2009 19:04:32 -0700 (PDT)
From: Infidel <mormoninfo@xxxxxxxxx>
Reply-To: politics-current-events@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To: Politics & Current Events <politics-current-events@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Thai Rebels Recruiting in Schools, Study Says

The New York Times
June 21, 2009

BANGKOK — Insurgents in southern Thailand are using a network of
Islamic schools to recruit fighters, but their movement does not
appear to be linked to Al Qaeda or other foreign Islamist groups,
according to a study due to be released Monday.

Since an increase in violence five years ago, analysts have sought to
pinpoint the primary motivations of an insurgency that has left more
than 3,400 people dead in towns and villages only several hours away
from Thailand’s most popular beach resorts.

The 20-page study, by the International Crisis Group, describes a
homegrown movement of Malay Muslim fighters seeking independence from
Thailand and built around longstanding resentment toward the Thai
Buddhist majority. Thai officials have in the past attributed the
violence to the drug trade and other criminal activities.

A group known as the National Revolutionary Front-Coordinate was the
main force in recruiting an estimated 1,800 to 3,000 fighters drawn
from more than 100,000 students in southern Thailand’s Islamic school
system, the report says.

“The classroom is the point of first contact,” the report says.
“Recruiters invite those who seem promising devout Muslims of good
character who are moved by a history of oppression, mistreatment and
the idea of armed jihad to join extracurricular indoctrination
programs in mosques or disguised as football training.”

The Crisis Group said the report was based on 16 months of interviews
with religious teachers and students — all of whom are unnamed —
involved in underground activities.

Violence in southern Thailand has been overshadowed by the political
crisis in the country, but the southern insurgency remains one of the
region’s most deadly and intractable ethnic conflicts.

Until recent weeks a two-year crackdown by the Thai military appeared
to be reducing violence in the area. But tensions flared this month
when a group of masked gunmen opened fire on a crowd of worshipers
outside a mosque, killing 10 people and seriously wounding 12. Since
the start of this month, 36 people have been killed and more than 100
have been wounded in the region.

The victims of the attacks are often Buddhists, notably teachers and
government officials, but more than half of those killed in the past
five years were Muslims, many labeled by the insurgents as
collaborators or spies for the Thai government.

The insurgents use many of the same methods in their recruitment —
oath-taking, indoctrination and military training — as other jihadist
groups. But the difference in southern Thailand, the report says, is
that recruiters “appeal to Malay nationalism and the oppression of
Malay Muslims by Buddhist Thai rulers” rather than invoking a
universal Islamic state or a global jihad.

A pamphlet found at an Islamic school during a raid by security forces
in 2005 offered a window into the teachings.
“Our land is crying and calling and waiting for independence and
fraternity,” the pamphlet said. “We have been treated as second-class
citizens or like children of slaves.”

The insurgents are helped in their recruitment by reports of torture
by the military, disappearances and extrajudicial killings. A Muslim
lawyers group counted 74 reports of torture of detainees between June
2007 and April 2008.

The recruitment is secretive, and even in schools where insurgents are
active, “not all school administrators, teachers and students may be
aware of what is happening, let alone consent to it,” the report says.

The government has tried to offer an alternative to the traditional
community-based Islamic schools, where instruction is often only in
the Malay language, but has met deadly resistance. Over the past five
years, 115 public school teachers and education officials have been
killed and 200 schools burned in what Human Rights Watch called a
“sickening trend.”

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